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Expanding Legacy Systems with Alteryx + SharePoint

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

Expanding Legacy Systems with Alteryx + SharePoint 


Author: Brodie Ruttan (@BrodieR), Lead Analytics and; Special Projects


Downer New Zealand

Originally Published: 2016 Excellence Awards Entry

Describe the problem you needed to solve:


I work for the largest services company in New Zealand, Downer NZ Ltd. Water services, Telecommunications, Power, Gas, Mining, Roads, Rail, Airports, Marine, and Defense etc. Our Work Streams are business to business and business to government and as such there are many different, disparate, aged data sources to work with. While we are progressing work streams on to new platforms, many of the databases and information systems we use are very dated and to keep developing them is cost prohibitive.


To keep providing our customers with the increased level of service they desire we need to keep capturing new metrics, but can't spend the money to further develop aged systems. How can we implement a solution to capture these new metrics without additional costs, and can we use the learning provided from capturing this data to develop the new information systems to operate these work streams?


Describe the working solution:


What we have implemented at Downer is a solution whereby we develop SharePoint lists to sit alongside our current information systems to gather supplementary data about the work we do and seamlessly report on it. An example of this would be if one of our technicians is at site a Cell Mast Site (think cell/mobile phone transmitting tower) and needs to report that the work cannot be completed, but the site has been "Made Safe." "Made Safe" is not a Boolean expression available in our current information systems. This is where Alteryx comes in and provides the value. Alteryx is capable of pulling the data out of the aged system and pushing the required job details into SharePoint. Once data has been added to the SharePoint list, Alteryx can then blend the data seamlessly back into exports for reporting and monitoring purposes.


Describe the benefits you have achieved:


Our business now has the capability of expanding legacy systems seamlessly using Alteryx and SharePoint. The cost of implementing the solution is limited only to the licensing costs of Alteryx and a SharePoint environment. Considering both of these licensing costs are sunk, we are capable of expanding systems using only the cost of time, which when using Alteryx and SharePoint is minimal. The cost benefit is immense, to upgrade or expand a legacy information system is a hugely expensive effort with little benefit to show. Legacy information systems in our environment mostly need to be migrated rather than upgraded. While we build these lists to expand our capability and keep our customers satisfied we also get the benefits of lessons learned when developing the new platform. Any information gathered in SharePoint, using Alteryx, needs to be planned for when the new information system is stood up, which saves the effort and cost of additional business analyst work.


We have also expanded this capability using Alteryx to pull out multi-faceted work projects for display in Gantt views in SharePoint and then to pull the updated information back into the host systems.



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